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  1. #1
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    IL - Richard William Griener, 13, Pekin, 17 Jan 1972

    Richard William Griener, 13, of Pekin, IL disappeared while out sledding on January 17 of 1972. He was last seen on a sledding hill in a local park. It is presumed that he has been murdered but no remains have been found.

    Those are the basics. I will add some additional remembrances, facts and conjectures in a following post.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  2. #2
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    If I remember correctly, his sled was found in the backyard of a residence as if it had been tossed there as someone passed by.

    At one time, I thought this might be a murder perpetrated by suspected serial child killer William "Freight Train" Guatney. I do not now believe this to be the case. Guatney was a transient who had a love for warmer climes and it would be unheard of for him to be in Illinois in the middle of January. The time he seemed to come to Illinois was in the summer months to work in places such as county fairs and carnivals. Guatney is strongly suspected of killing another Pekin boy in the summer 1976.

    Another theory is that Richard was accidentally killed in a late afternoon/early evening traffic mishap and the driver hid the body to avoid some type of trouble. This would not explain the sled, that is if I'm remembering the finding correctly. Obvious to me at least, if someone wanted to cover up a hit and run, they would conceal the sled with all the other evidence. The sled was a roll up type toboggan that would have been easy to hide.
    Last edited by STANDREID; 07-07-2011 at 10:39 AM.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  3. #3
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    ~JMO~

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cubby View Post
    It says that William Guatney was a suspect in Richard's disappearance. Is it known when Guatney attacked his last victim in comparison to when Richard was last seen? If the tobaggon was found near a house as reported above, I wonder if it was analyzed for DNA? Probably not, I don't think they did that in 1972. If the sled was discovered, how long from the time Richard went missing?

    Another theory is that Richard was accidentally killed in a late afternoon/early evening traffic mishap and the driver hid the body to avoid some type of trouble. This would not explain the sled, that is if I'm remembering the finding correctly. Obvious to me at least, if someone wanted to cover up a hit and run, they would conceal the sled with all the other evidence. The sled was a roll up type toboggan that would have been easy to hide.
    Is it recalled, the number of streets or roads that Richard would have had to walk between the approximate time of 4 to 6 PM? The weather if sowing and slippery could indicate Richard susceptible to falling and injury in a sledding accident. But this is unlikely because he would have almost certainly have been found. Rush-hour traffic during this time and the tragedy that Richard might have been struck by a car, with the driver in a panic hiding the body is a possibility. But if we know the sled was found, I agree with the poster above, it is strange that the driver, if an auto accident occurred, did not hide that as well.

    Were other people on the park's sledding hill at the time? How many? Important to note, was it ever established where suspect Mr. Guatney was at the time of Richard's disappearance?

    Satch
    Last edited by Satch; 07-12-2011 at 06:17 PM.

  5. #5
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    I hope I am not misremembering about the sled. Perhaps it was his coat instead of his sled or maybe I'm confusing this with another case. It was almost 40 years ago and I'm strictly going by memory which might be flawed. Sorry if I've jumped the tracks here. I don't see it mentioned that anything was found anywhere else so consider it my mistake for the present.

    Just now, I sent an email to the Pekin Library so hopefully they can clear up the matter in the next few days.

    The other Pekin boy who was killed, and probably by Guatney, was Mark Helmig in 1976.
    Last edited by STANDREID; 07-12-2011 at 08:49 PM.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  6. #6
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    It's highly possible that Richard could have been in a sledding accident of some kind. I remember sledding as a kid, and sometimes even on designated "safe sledding" areas, it's possible to misjudge the distance to a tree, or other hazards. Maybe he had an accident and someone panicked, hiding the body? IMO it's not likely, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

    Secondly, are they 100% sure it was his sled they found? I'd imagine he had a common kind of sled that was mass produced, and probably many other kids in the area had the same kind...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CastlesBurning View Post
    It's highly possible that Richard could have been in a sledding accident of some kind. I remember sledding as a kid, and sometimes even on designated "safe sledding" areas, it's possible to misjudge the distance to a tree, or other hazards. Maybe he had an accident and someone panicked, hiding the body? IMO it's not likely, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

    Secondly, are they 100% sure it was his sled they found? I'd imagine he had a common kind of sled that was mass produced, and probably many other kids in the area had the same kind...
    I could have been mistaken about the sled being found - perhaps it was a rumor. The Pekin Public Library did answer my email but only said I was welcome to come down and review their records on the case. I might do that sometime but won't make any promises. Their big deal is Everett Dirkson who was from Pekin.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  8. #8
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    I have checked the map and Richard would have had to walk about a mile to return home from the park. It is all through residential areas so the idea that he could have been hit by a car and all the evidence gathered up without anyone seeing or hearing anything seems very nearly impossible to me. Especially since he would have been walking home about 6 PM on a Monday when people would have been coming home from work and sitting down for supper.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  9. #9
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    I believe it was Mineral Springs Park but the high school's east campus, next-door, is also a popular sledding spot.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  10. #10
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    Looking at the map and the likely route a pedestrian might have taken, it looks like it would have been about a 3/4 mile or 15 minute walk from Richard's home to the center of the park. Depending on what part of the park he went to, his walking time would have been in the 10-20 minute range. My first guess is that he accepted a ride from the wrong person but that's a short enough walk that it's puzzling why he wouldn't decline and leg it. This makes me wonder if it could have been someone he knew like a person who lived in his general neighborhood.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid


  11. #11
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    I'll charge up the GPS and try to drive the route sometime in the near future to see if I get any ideas.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  12. #12
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    I'll try to do this drive in January to get the proper feel at the proper time. On January 17 the sunset was around 4:58 PM so it would have been black as midnight by 6 PM.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  13. #13
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    I would like to know, was he last seen walking home? Did he randomly disappear from sledding? It would be full dark at 5pm and walking through residential, someone could easily have done something without anyone noticing, especially if there was no moon out. My senior year of college included a night class in winter that was all about a very large paper we had to write. My apartment was 1 - 1.5 miles away and you couldn't pay me to walk home on nights without the moon, or really any night at that. Walking that far at a leisurely stroll can take 20-30 minutes easy. It's a very creepy 20-30 minutes. I walked through mostly residential and no one is out at that time. It may be rush hour, but again...in winter, you get home and you run inside. I sure don't pay attention to my surroundings.

  14. #14
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    I have to say, the saddest cases on Websleuths to me personally are the decades old missing kids cases. The cute, old black and white toothy kids smiling back...a picture 50 years old. So freaking sad.

  15. #15
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    Well, I'll get in gear for the test run. I still haven't made it to the library yet.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

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